This autumn and winter golf balls have kept appearing at the east end of the Thames Road Wetland site, mainly the section between the far edge of the reed-swamp and the railway line, with a few on the sewer pipe bank. Last week I collected up the latest lot and today got round to cleaning them up. There were 34 balls in all, adding to around 10 I had removed previously. There are at least 2 more balls out of reach in a bushy thicket and on railway land. The culprit(s) is/are almost certainly one or more Carrion Crows. A superficial search found several reports and a few photos on the internet of Crows taking golf balls in the UK, and only a couple about Magpies doing it. In any case, far more Crows than Magpies fly over the site on a daily basis. Only 1 ball had any external damage, which may have been due to a Fox playing with it sometime after it was dropped.
The nearest formal golf course – Barnehurst – is 1 mile away as the Crow flies, and off what appears to be the usual flight paths of commuting Crows in this part of the Borough. Perhaps someone is practicing out on Dartford Marshes and losing a lot of balls over there?
The next step is to find a worthy person or persons to give the stash of balls to for re-use – unless someone reading this can make a good case for being the owner. A donation to Thames21 in return would be welcome ……………………..
It will be interesting to see whether this phenomenon continues. If so, perhaps we will need to write a need for hard hats into our risk assessments!
Chris Rose. Site Manager.